For a relatively low monthly fee, you'll be able to pick out certain magazines you want to receive, and they'll show up on your doorstep for you to read and dispose of. If you like something, you can simply keep receiving it, while replacing less-liked titles with new ones at a much lower price than it would cost to go out and buy them at the newsstand. … Read more
If you're not in the "club," high-end audio might look like a bastion of elitist snobs and the idle rich, so it may come as a shock to note that some of high-end audio's greatest engineers started out in rock and roll. Take John Curl, in the early 1970s he worked his magic on the Grateful Dead's concert and recording sound systems and later kept the Jefferson Airplane aloft. That was just before he tackled film sound in Hollywood. All of that led to collaborations with high-end pioneer Mark Levinson; together they raised the stakes, considerably, with the JC 2 stereo preamplifier in 1974.
It didn't matter that the JC 2 was two or three times more expensive than any other component in the nascent high-end market; a lot of folks lucky enough to hear it and afford it bought it. The JC 2 had that effect on people. Curl and Levinson soon parted ways and over the next few years Curl designed a long run of cutting edge electronics for other companies. Levinson eventually departed the company that bears his name, and his old company now designs car audio systems for Lexus. High-end is in the big time now.
When I heard that Curl had finished work on an all-new Halo Series JC 2 stereo preamplifier for Parasound I had to check it out (it's like hearing that Carroll Shelby just built a new AC Cobra). Better yet, for this review Parasound sent along a pair of the matching Halo Series JC 1, 400 watt mono power amplifiers. I reviewed the all-new JC 1 & JC 2 combination for Home Entertainment magazine, you can read the review here.
The JC 1 is a seriously powerful amplifier, its output stage employs nine pairs of high-current bipolar transistors with massive heat sinks to insure long-term reliability. Each amplifier can deliver 400 watts to 8 ohm rated speakers, and 800 watts to 4 ohm models, and if your speakers ever dip as low as 2 ohms, the JC 1 will happily serve 1,200 watts! The JC 1 sounds potent, even when listened to at merely moderately loud levels, and maintains its composure at lease breaking, call-the-cops volume. … Read more
Compared to iPods LPs are a lot of work. First you have to put the record on a turntable platter, cue the tonearm over the lead-in groove, and then gently lower the "needle" into said groove. When the record's over, you have to raise the arm and return it to the rest. If that sounds like hard labor stick with your iPod. But to audiophiles the turntable/record playing ritual is part of the analog experience, a preamble of good sounds to come.
Thing is--the stylus tracing the microscopic world of groove wiggles encounters more than just wiggles--whatever dirt and assorted crud that's adhered to the vinyl adds its own noise, clicks and pops to the music. Sure, when things are really bad you could gently wash the LPs with baby shampoo, rinse with lots of water and dry. That might help, but the deep down grime at the bottom of the groove will still be there, and still audible. The ground-in crud can dramatically increase what we perceive as "record surface noise." Record brushes can sweep some of the surface dirt off, but at the end of the day the only way to get the deep down stuff is to use special record cleaning fluid and suck it off with a vacuum. that's exactly the way record cleaning machines work--they squeeze more analog juice from used and even new records. … Read more
Just as patients have to trust their doctors, non-techies have to trust the advice they get from techies. My last posting was about an article in a newspaper that offered, what I felt, was questionable advice on setting up a WiFi wireless network. The July issue of PC Magazine recently arrived in my mailbox and it offers some advice on backing up your computer that is also, to me, questionable.
The article is called "Keep Your Data Safe" and doesn't seem to have been posted yet on pcmag.com.
One section of the article discusses external hard … Read more
Magazine-subscription service TradePub is offering a free one-year subscription to PC Magazine. All you have to do is complete a form and wait up to 12 weeks for your first issue to arrive (assuming you meet the publisher's "demographic and geographic requirements," that is).
What's the catch? Well, you're divulging your personal information, of course, including your e-mail address, but TradePub says simply that "you are giving us permission to contact you via email about your subscription and concerning customer service requests." Sounds pretty harmless. Will you end up receiving newsletters, promotional offers, … Read more
SAN MATEO, Calif.--The best thing about going to Maker Faire a couple of days before the gates officially open is watching it grow.
Walk a couple of times around the fairgrounds here, where the do-it-yourself bacchanalia will welcome tens of thousands of people starting Saturday, and you'll see new projects appear each time you go around: A stream of trucks keeps coming through the gates, each one hauling a new group of people and whatever fantastical art, heavy machine, oddball musical instrument or other insane contents it might be carrying.
Over on one side of the fairgrounds, a … Read more
Idio, a cool service that takes your musical tastes and serves up blog articles about musicians it thinks you might like, has added a handy feature for people who want to actually listen to the artists they're reading about. Its new built-in music player creates a track list of artists based on what you're reading about. Prior to this player, the service had little embedded clips you could click to listen to, but the newer iteration is a full player with playlist and button navigation.
One of my favorite people in the world of tech culture has always been Make magazine senior editor Phil Torrone.
Over the years, I've done a number of stories about his various exploits, including Roomba Frogger at South by Southwest 2006, his laser-etching business, his jamming of TVs at a hotel in Austin, Texas, and his work in helping organize Maker Faires. Beyond that, I've always enjoyed talking with him, as he's a world traveler, a top-notch intellect, and a world-class culture jammer. He's just my kind of guy.
And there's certainly one thing about … Read more
If you thought it was bad enough that all your friends, and even your mother, want you to keep up with them via their Twitter pages, your plants could now do the same.
That's because the folks at Botanicalls, a group that formed at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program that figured out how to get plants to make phone calls when they need to be watered, have now extended that functionality to Twitter.
"Botanicalls Twitter answers the question: What's up with your plant? It offers a connection to your leafy pal via online Twitter status … Read more