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Posts Tagged ‘tech’

iCal and Power PC / 10.5 leopard, 5 days to the end to push notifications!


So long and thanks for all the fish! In Apple’s eternal quest for your money, they are continuing their disrespect for Mac OS 10.5 Leopard users less than two years after 10.6 came on to the market.  forcing you to upgrade your OS at an increasing pressure rate that would make Microsoft blush.

In seven days, Mobile Me will no longer support iCal push to Leopard clients. F*** the What?

I run a shed load of Power PC macs which refuse to die…. And their OS was only superseded only in June 2009, less than two years ago… At which point all updates ceased abruptly, with only security patches from that point on.

I always remembered the adage…. “You don’t need a new PC because the old one will always continue to do what it always has done…”

Bah humbug. Not any more… With the cloud centred life that we are all starting to live, they can rescind anything they want at any time…. And with MobileMe, they’re doing just that… already…

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Firewire vs. USB

September 10, 2009 2 comments

The battle between Firewire (A.K.A. IEEE 1394, iLink) and USB rages on.

i switch

It’s well known that although USB 2.0 shows a higher speed on paper (480Mbps vs. 400Mbps) than Firewire, due to inefficiencies in USB protocol and the fact that USB requires the host to manage the transfer of data, Firewire is in actual fact faster on the whole.

The reason is cited as being not just the efficient, real-time, streaming oriented protocol but the Firewire controller itself, which manages much of the dirty work when it comes to data transfer, offloading the stress of controlling real-time, high speed data from the motherboard/CPU onto the device.

This offers two main benefits:

  1. The host CPU or controller has less work to do and can focus on other, more important stuff, meaning the attached host will feel more responsive and less stressed under heavy load.
  2. Because major data flow control is performed on the device itself, wasteful, detailed control data does not have to flow back and forth between the device and the host, leading to less wastage and latency.

…and two main drawbacks:

  1. The controller is relatively complex and thus expensive.
  2. The controller’s complexity can lead to difficult to diagnose compatibility issues.

Which leads to my main issue.

My Logitec MA-16FU2/WM external firewire and USB dvd burner regularly fails to mount disks on my Mac, while connected by Firewire but performs flawlessly with USB.

Basically, no disks inserted will mount at all under Snow Leopard.

Indeed “about this mac/more info…” shows no sign of any volume in this drive, whether it’s directly connected to the mini or via the firewire hub of the Princeton PHD-MM160IUH.

Moreover a second firewire / USB device will often fail to remount over firewire if I shut it down or disconnect it. Again, it works flawlessly over USB. Moreover, it even works with Firewire when connected to my Windows PC!

Go figure!

I’ve tried:

sudo kextunload
/System/Library/Extensions/IOFireWireFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleFWOHCI.kext/

and:

sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/IOFireWireFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleFWOHCI.kext/

but the external drives just shut down and restart, still without mounting the volumes.

No joy.

It’s really ironic that the Mac has worse support for firewire than Windows, especially since Apple were one of the founders of the specification.

basically, despite the ‘so-called’ superiority Firewire, I can only get my job done reliably with USB… sigh.

Vibration Isolation Cones and Audiophile Gear

June 8, 2009 Leave a comment

As many of my readers know, I was lucky enough to have been given a then ¥450,000 Denon DVD-5910 <<link to specs here>> by Denon for my part in troubleshooting some serious playback quality issues in the DVD-A1 (5800), their previous top of the range player.

So I guess I can claim to know a bit about this kind of thing and don’t want to suddenly come off sounding ignorant. Well, here goes then…

<takes a deep breath>

Well, considering that the 5910 had been designed like a Sherman Tank, used practically the finest components known to mankind and then tweaked to eek the very last drops of detail from the disks (or so readers of this forum will gladly tell us) could you explain how a few little cones help to the extent that they cause a humanly audible difference? And if they do, why Denon didn’t incorporate a similar feature into its design, considering the 5910 was long the flagship, no holds barred player of choice for the discerning video-AND-audiophile.

I’m extremely curious as to how a little vibration management can “really enhance the already stellar performance” of a $4000 player that is to all intents and purposes, considering its construction, unlikely to suffer unduly from day to day vibrations of any kind besides those caused by a warped or damaged disc or a disc with a label stuck to one edge, or a small earthquake.

Of course, if one lives by a motorway, vibrations might be enough to affect one’s player… in which case the sound of the cars would all but drown out anything below 24 db or so in any case, making such an investment all but pointless.

I’m really sorry to sound sceptical, but I had friends who used to spray antistatic wax on their cables and made similar “really enhances XYZ” or the classic “tightens the bass/focus/pants” line.

One day, fed up with their constant “tweking”, when they were out, I cleaned the wax off the cables with some rubbing alcohol, but of course they continued to boast about the improvements when their mates came round. Not only that, but I had reversed the polarity of one of the back corner surround speakers, just for a laugh. And until the day I left, it stayed wired that way, unnoticed.

Obviously, in the days of valves, when the filaments could be excited by external vibrations, any isolation was bound to help, even more so with a turntable (which I demonstrated once by placing the needle on the receiver of a phone during a conversation and having a muffled version of the conversation relayed through speakers.

But come on, seriously, modern electronics being affected by vibrations to the point where the vibrations affect the device audibly more than the vibrations raise the sound floor of the room itself?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a man who understands the value of floor to ceiling curtains, a thick carpet and a rather uncool, but audiophile tiled ceiling.

I also understand the importance of solid speaker stands, relative speaker distance and especially, of course, sub woofer placement.

I can also vouch for the efficacy of the auto calibration of a number of highish end amps.

But I don’t ever want to see a monster TOSLINK cable, or for that matter a 25% silver digital interconnect costing $1000 connected to a modern digital buffer with full ECC. I don’t want the smell of cable-antistatic spray in my room… And I do not ever, ever want to see another green rimmed CD in my freezer ever, ever again, Paul, do you hear me 😉 !

sorry… I’ll… erm… I guess I’ll be going then…

<<grabs his coat and shuffles out of the building quietly by the back door>>