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Jul 30, 2003

It’s been a busy week, and it ain’t over yet

Mass Pike abutters have questions about the Mass Turnpike Authority’s noise barrier priority study. (Funny that I’ve never noticed the Ludlow noise barriers despite the hundreds of times I’ve been through Exit 7. I’ll have to keep an eye out the next time I visit Western Mass.)

Our old friend Ken Kantor (formerly of NHT) is featured in an SFGate article about businesses using eBay to buy low cost equipment. (Okay, Ken isn’t really a friend, but he did help me score the Tonegen 458’s I used for my DIY satellite project.)

Now playing: “White Flag” by Dido by way of the iTunes Music Store. Whatever you may think of popular music these days, you have to admit she has a beautiful voice.

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Jul 24, 2003

Lou Lung’s pictures from Saturday’s DIY meeting are up.

More news on Greenbush mitigation issues.

An article on a Santa Monica noise ordinance. Classic quote:

A lot of us have composed the ‘City Brush-off Handbook’.” “Chapter 1 is ‘There Is No Problem,’” Holcomb explained. “Chapter 2 is ‘You’re The Problem.’ Chapter 3 is ‘We Have Come Out and Measured and There’s No Measurable Violation.’ Chapter 4 is ‘Why Don’t You Just Move?’ Chapter 5 is ‘Nothing’, chapter 6 is ‘Nothing’; the rest of the chapters are nothing because you don‘t get returned phone calls or returned emails.”

In all seriousness, let me say that I’ve had the privilege of working directly with politicians on noise issues on the local and state levels. In my experience, if you approach them with rational, logical arguments, and if you can back up your arguments with hard data or convincing testimony, they will take you seriously. If you are patient and persistent, your elected representatives will attempt to address your noise problems. Give the system a chance.

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Jul 20, 2003

The BAS/DIY meeting went very well. Although it was scheduled from 2pm to 5pm, the meeting went until well after 6pm, with several people staying until 7:00pm examining a new 15-inch subwoofer from newcomers Bully Subwoofers.

Among the projects discussed at the meeting:

BJ Tanner talked at length about woodworking challenges and techniques, and also touched upon some of the dangers inherent to working with various woods and tools. He gave the group a tour of his shop, and spoke with various attendees about their particular projects.

Thanks to Alvin Foster and BAS for sponsoring the meeting and providing refreshments. Special thanks to BJ Tanner for providing the space, and sharing some of his vast woodworking experience. Anecdote: Dick Ravin had some questions about rounding over the edges of his driver holes, so he brought his speaker cabinets to the meeting hoping for some hints. Well, no sooner did he ask, when BJ pulled out one his (many) routers, and went to work!

Thanks to everyone who came. I put some pictures up at I didn’t have time to take a lot of pictures, but Lou Lung was there with his digital camera, and he promised to have his pictures up on the web ASAP.

I had really hoped that pros and DIY’ers could come together to swap some audio knowledge, and it certainly happened. We’ll have to do this again - but I’ll let someone else organize it next time.

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Jul 19, 2003

My little web/SLM demo is over for now, mainly because I need the SLM for some other uses.

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Jul 15, 2003

I’ve added another feature to my little experiment from yesterday: When you click this link, you will be able to see the realtime noise level values outside of my office, and (if you have Apple’s Quicktime multimedia software installed on your computer) you will be able to hear what you are measuring - all from the comfort of your home or office.

Now I’m not going to pretend I’m the first to do this - I think airport noise monitoring systems have been doing similar feats for years. But this a noise monitoring system that complies with ANSI Type 1 noise regulations, and can log 1/3, 1/6 and 1/12 octave bands for about $4,000 (hardware and software included, network connection extra) - that’s about the price most vendors charge for a Type 1 handheld SLM with 1/3 octave band capability. It’s an example of what we can achieve if we take advantage of commodity hardware.

FYI, the audio is streaming at a 16kHz sampling frequency do conserve bandwidth. However, I believe the system could easily handle several connections at 44.1 kHz sampling rate (CD quality) with no significant degradation - and this is on 3 year-old hardware.

Update: Really silly bug - pressing the “Reset” button will reset the LMax, LMin, LEQ, minute and second values, but not the hour value. The bug is already fixed, but I won’t have a chance to update the server software until Friday.

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Jul 14, 2003

I’m testing some equipment this week. Wanna See? It should be up all week long. Go ahead, kick the tires. And yes, there is an ANSI Type 1 sound level meter on the other end of that link.

Of course, that isn’t all I have up my sleeve…

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Jul 11, 2003

Fortune has an article about Wilson Audio, manufacturer of the Watt Puppy’s, WAMMS and other high-end speakers. This is the first mainstream press article I’ve read that makes reference to the “Wife Acceptance Factor” (WAF, or sometimes known by its more politically correct name “Spousal Acceptance Factor”). WAF/SAF refers to the practice of making your product attractive enough that your spouse will allow you to keep it in plain sight in the living room/family room etc. WAF/SAF is discussed a lot in DIY circles, but I have rarely seen anyone besides Bose or Apple discuss it publicly.

As I’ve mentioned before, I had a chance to listen to a few of Wilson’s products, and I came away very impressed. If you’re in the Boston area, I recommend paying a visit to Goodwin’s High End and asking for a demo. Would I spend the money to buy a pair of Wilsons? Probably not, I enjoy the challenge of building my own speakers. But the Watt Puppy’s give a DIY something to aspire to.

In other news, the USS Ronald Reagan is being commissioned tomorrow. I only mention this because I have a friend who worked on the reactor, and I wanted to congratulate him on the successful completion of his project.

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Jul 10, 2003

New England DIY Audio Meeting: Read the announcement here. Directions are included in the above link.

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Jul 02, 2003

There will be a get together for Audio DIY’ers from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday, July 19 at BJ Tanner’s shop in Manchester, New Hampshire. The official announcement will be posted at the BAS website in a few days (once I write it!), but I wanted to get the word out. Everyone is welcome to attend. Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions.

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