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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Insurance Claim Hints

I recently had a fire in my workshop caused by a powerline surge. My AAA homeowners insurance paid for some of the loss and a lot of cleanup. In the process I learned a lot about what to tell the insurance company when submitting a claim and how they determine payment. I am sharing this information so that others might have a chance to be less screwed.

First I need to mention that it is my impression that insurance companies will do or say anything to delay and minimize payment. Do not trust anything said to you by an agent. Anything you do not have in writing (e-mail does seem to have the power of paper today) is essentially worthless. Agents will intentionally mislead you and or make promises they have no intention of keeping. You may make decisions based on this information and find later that you made a bad choice but that it is too late to change. So get everything in writing and write down the name of every person you speak to.

Property loss compensation is subject to some very confusing rules intended to minimize payment, however (with AAA at least) the need for documentation is minimal affording an opportunity to influence the eventual payment. I was unaware of these rules and lost quite a lot of money.

The two most important considerations are "replacement cost vs. actual value" and depreciation. If you have a replacement cost policy you may be paid the cost to replace your lost property with equivalent items but you will need to replace the items within a fairly short period of time. If you can not replace an item or have no place to house it because your house is gone or uninhabitable or if you would rather have cash and not a replacement item, you should consider taking "actual value" instead.

Actual value has little to do with the actual value of an item. Actual value is based on purchase price minus depreciation. There are some exceptions for things like art and possibly some collectibles or antiques so ask your insurer in advance as to how they treat these items and be prepared for a a bunch of double talk and confusion. Get everything in writing or fight your way through your policy declarations with the help of a lawyer or two to make sense out of it.

Depreciation can be considerable. For tools (including ones that suffer no wear in time and actually increase in value) the depreciation may be 5% per year with a maximum of 80%. That wonderful Starrett tool you bought 20 years ago for $400 will be compensated at $80 even though it costs $1500 to replace today.

Now for the most helpful hints:

The insurance company is not likely to require proof of purchase price especially for an item purchased 20 years ago. They took my word on everything I claimed. I made the mistake of being honest. If you got a great deal, do not tell the insurance company, it will only reduce your payment. Present the highest reasonable purchase price for every item and set the purchase date as close to the present as is believable.

Take pictures of everything you own and keep copies where they will not be destroyed in a fire or other disaster. This may be your only proof that you actually owned the items.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Rural Cell Phone Fix? change home SID

I live in a remote rural location where cell phone coverage is marginal at best. The mountains make it especially difficult to receive a signal in some places. My house is the worst cell reception location on my property. I have a signal booster, sold by Wilson Electronics that makes it possible to use the phone at the house. Previously I used a "yagi" antenna pointed at the closest tower but this required an external antenna connection on the phone and these are very rare on new phones today. The Wilson U-Booster "Sleek" is only about $100 and works with all phones.

The remaining problem is that I have Verizon as a carrier and all of their phones are programmed to switch to Verizon equipment whenever it is available, instead of roaming on another carrier's system. This would be fine if the connection worked. The phones only seem to check the receive signal strength and don't bother to test the connection before switching. I have used various techniques such as trying to shield the antenna from the Verizon signal but this has pretty much stopped working especially with my new phone.

It seems that one key to choosing a connection is the use of preferred SID. Every carrier has a SID number for each area they operate in. Boundaries are often county lines but not always. When a phone checks for available services, it compares the SID of the available signals to the preferred roaming list in the phone. I am not sure how to change this list if it is in fact a list. This is what "updating roaming" seems to do.

For me, changing the "home SID" seems to help the phone stay on the carrier of my choice. You can get lists of nationwide SIDs from the following three pages.

If you know the carrier that provides better service to your area, you can change your home SID to this number if you can access your phones settings. For my phone, this requires "manual programming" mode. I have listed the procedure below but it probably works only for some LG phones. I got the secret procedure from Verizon. They will not tell you anything other than their own local SID but you can probably get them to talk you through the procedure for manual programming on you phone. Pretend that you can not update roaming because there is no Verizon equipment in your area. They will be glad to help you change the SID to one that will not work. I changed my SID from 1076 (Verizon Mendocino) to 1075 (US Cellular Mendocino) To accomplish the same, you will need to find the SID of the best facility in your remote area.

This works on an LG Accolade. Other phones will probably require different manual programming access codes. If anyone knows the codes for other Verizon phones, I will make a list and publish them all.

Key the following as if you were keying a number. ##77647265600 and then press "send" Enter 000000 as the "service code" From the menu that displays, choose the first option "service pro" Click OK until you get to the "Home sid" display. Record the number shown in case you need to restore it. After editing the number, click "OK" until the phone re-boots.

I will maintain a list of manual programming access codes if I am able to get them for other phones. Please contact me if you have any codes to add to the list.

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Web Site Editor

A few months ago, I wrote a program to simplify the editing of basic HTML web sites. A couple of artist friends were having problems maintaining their sites due to the complexity of available programs or the cost of hiring "experts". I put a lot of effort into making the program as simple and automatic as possible. After configuring the program for a specific site, there is virtually no thinking to be done. All the complex stuff is handled by the program. I wrote both a PC and Mac version and learned a lot in the process.

The most difficult part has been getting anyone to try it. I set up a test site that anyone can try. Just download the program and it runs in test mode accessing the test site. The Mac version virtually installs itself. The program was designed for people who have existing HTML (CSSS is fine but flash content and other complexities can not be edited)sites and want to substitute pictures and text easily. Clink on the "check it out here" link below to give it a try and please let me know what you think. Be sure to view the "video demonstration" that shows the program in action.

check it out here

Comparing E-Mail Clients

Now that I have switched, I realize that I have been suffering with garbage for many years. I was an early adopter of "The Bat" for an E-mail client. I was attracted by the many advanced features such as the ability to use "regular expressions" in searches and the availability of a portable version that I could run from any computer using a thumb drive.

"The Bat" started out as a pretty good program with a few annoying bugs such as the world's worst text editor and the inability to properly display HTML in received e-mail.

The editor was the worst problem. Inserting copied text was nearly impossible without destroying formatting. Jumping all over the document was common and I thought it was my doing, hitting hot keys or something. I spent more time correcting an e-mail than writing it. Now that I have a better program I realize that the problem was with "The Bat"s editor, not me. It interprets certain key combinations or sequences as commands to do things like jump to the end of the document or some other place that I can not even describe.

No matter what configuration choices I made, I could never properly display HTML in received e-mail. The rest of the world seemed to have no problem but I had to deal with garbled text in an HTML world.

Rit Labs never answered my support questions. I figured they would eventually sort out the bugs. They had no problem adding useless features and charging for upgrades but they never fixed the basics.

I had heard that Mozilla "Thunderbird" was pretty decent so I gave it a try. There is a little to get used to and a few features that could be better but I am generally impressed. I can't believe the time I wasted with "The Bat".

I have made a new rule and hope to remember and stick with it. If something looks like it has problems, don't give it too much time. I suffered with "The Bat" for over 7 years. It was the advanced features that kept me hooked but I never used them enough to justify the daily suffering.

Of course, "The Bat" uses its own format for e-mail and a address book entries and their feature for exporting to standard formats does not work so saving my 100,000 email was a bit of a challenge. Together with "Thunderbird"s transition tools and an inexpensive (for one user personal use) program called Aid4Mail, I was able to get all my mail into "Thunderbird". I can not get the folders arranged exactly the way I want but that is a minor issue. For some reason, copying or moving between folders takes foreeeeeeeeeeeeever. Various solutions found on the internet for creating folders and moving messages just do not work. I might let the computer take the four days that it will take to copy the messages or I might just learn to live with things the way they are.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Interfacing to the LX Reproducing Piano

I have been promising to write an article on a digital audio file serving system that can be built for very little money and that produces excellent quality audio. I have gotten sidetracked because a simplified version of the same system makes an excellent interface for the LX piano. It can also work for the Yamaha Disklavier, Pianodisc and Pianomation systems.

All of these pianos can be operated with specially coded audio files by connecting an audio source to their appropriate inputs. Each system has its own requirements, some accept audio from an MP3 file while others use decoding systems that do not work well with MP3.

Fortunately, the LX piano works perfectly with MP3 files. Although the system to be described here works with WAV and FLAC, MP3 is the most convenient for those who like to perfect the metadata displayed in libraries and playlists.

Previously I used Itunes and an Airport Express to send data to the LX piano. This worked fairly well but there were problems. My intermediate method switched to WinAmp and finally to Media Monkey still using the Airport but the new method does not require an Airport and its associated problems.

The new system allows the piano to be controlled from any computer in the house (or on the internet for that matter) as well as from an Ipod, Iphone, or I pad. The key to the system is a small dedicated computer connected to the piano with an audio cable and a few very reasonably priced and free programs.

The computer can be almost anything. It can be a notebook, a small form factor computer or just about any old piece of junk that you can hide somewhere. It is even possible to set it up without a monitor or mouse. The computer can even be configured to boot to the necessary programs without having to see anything on a monitor. It is necessary to have a small keyboard hidden somewhere as the computer will not boot without one. Some computer bios will allow you to boot in spite of a keyboard error so it may be possible to eliminate even the keyboard. If you have room for them you might as well have a small monitor and keyboard for maximum flexibility. Just want to cover the various options.

The key to the system is a media playing program called "Media Monkey". It costs less than $50 and is by far the best program of its kind. There are many plugins and extensions that allow you to do amazing things with it. One of them is an Iphone/Ipod application that lets you control the program remotely. I do not have an Ipod but borrowed one and tested the app. It works!!! IN the future, I will blog about some of my favorites plugins for "Media Monkey". Some day, I might even keep my promise to explain how to use MM as the basis for an excellent digital audio file server.

"Media Monkey" can be used to rip original LX cds to MP3 files which are added to the library. MM can also play files from shared network locations including a shared network drive. When ripping files from LX, and other piano CDs,no metadata is imported as it would be with audio CDs. This is because the data is not available on the internet sources such as FreeDBD. You have to add the data to the MP3 files yourself. I have written a utility that makes this easy to do from a tab delimited text file. It is available from the LX tools page of my web site. I have a ready made listings for all of the CDs available from "Live Performance" which are also available from the LX tools page of my web site.

In order to lay the piano from any other computer in the house or the world, you can set up a remote desktop connection between the dedicated computer and any other one. This is why you do not even need a monitor on the piano's computer. The computer can set up to boot to the remote desktop application with "Media Monkey" also running. Then you view it from any remotely connected computer.

A remote desktop configuration would be very complicated and unreliable using Microsoft's "remote desktop". In addition, you need to buy a professional version of Windows just to use remote desktop. "Remote Assistance" can be used but it is a royal pain to set up and use. Fortunately, there is a program that is free for personal use. "Team Viewer" is very easy to set up, is well documented and works flawlessly. No need to worry about firewalls, proxies, encryption, security etc., "Team Viewer" handles it all. It does depend on an internet connection for each computer in the shared configuration so you may want to set up the dedicated computer to run on its own if you have frequent internet outages.

"Team Viewer" is also available as an Iphone/Ipod app in case you prefer this to the "Media Monkey" Iphone/Ipod app. It is also available for the Mac so you can "run" "Media Monkey" on the Mac but you do need a PC connected to the piano to actually run the program. Many people are hoping for a Mac version of "Media Monkey" but it might not happen since most Mac users "like" Itunes for some reason.

Please contact me via blog comments or through the e-mail link on my web site if you think I should write a complete document on how to set up this system. My web site is linked on this blog but here it is link for the LX tools page. and the LX Music page

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Setting up a PC based media file server at almost no cost

I am the proud owner of an Opus Olive media file server. A good friend gave it to me after realizing that he would be long dead before Olive got the bugs worked out. Basically it is a piece of overpriced garbage. My friend and I figured out how to create a system that outperforms this and many other file serving systems at a fraction of the cost. All you need is a computer that has a pcie slot, a $150 sound card and some cables that you probably have already. Of course,"Media Monkey" is a key part of this system because you need to organize and lay your files.

This post is only intended to get you excited about the possibility of dumping your CDs and implementing a digital file server. There are a lot of details to master. I will eventually share all of my secrets. The system that I propose was tested on a truly fine stereo. I am not going to bore you with how to rip all your CDs so you can listen to inferior noise. The file serving system will not be the "weak link" in your audio chain unless you have more than $50,000 invested in your stereo.

It will take me a while to document all that we have done. Please be patient.

More Media Monkey

I am using the "Media Monkey" to play my Live Performance LX piano too. I have a little SFF (small form factor) computer connected to the LX via the built in sound card. I have Media Monkey on the little computer with all my LX MP3 files in the library. I am using another great free program (free for non-commercial use) program to interface with this computer from any computer in my network (or even any computer in the world (isn't that fun,I can actually play my piano from France if I want to)) "Team Viewer" is used to set up a remote desktop control that is much easier to use than Microsoft's "remote desktop" or "remote assistance". I don't even need a monitor on the little computer as it boots to running "Team Viewer" which means that I just have to turn on the computer and walk away/ I can play the piano from anywhere as long as all computers have internet access.

I used to use an "Airport Express" connected to the LX but don't need it anymore. A big advantage is that the media files are on the directly connected computer. All streaming is direct to the piano, only the control is across the network. The result is perfect timing, no glitches whwn the network is overloaded.

The Best Media Player, Bar None

I have been playing with a media organizer/player that is so superior to everything else out there, I have to comment about it. This is the "Media Monkey". On the surface, it looks about equal to "Itunes" or "Winamp" but the surface is where the similarity ends. This is an amazing program. It has taken me about a week to learn how to exploit some of its capabilities and it is well worth the time spent. If you give it a fair chance, you will dump Itunes in a flash. "Out of the Box", it will do everything that Itunes does and better. Looking at details of customization including plugins and scripting capabilities will uncover something that could only be accomplished in an open source environment.

Media Monkey is primarily intended to just catalog and play common audio files such as MP3, FLAC and WAV but there is a plugin for MIDI as well. All the features of Itunes such as tagging from web databases is included. There is even the ability to play internet radio, manage podcasts etc. What makes it so different is the ability to customize virtually every aspect of the program and also to install plugins and scripts contributed by others. One of these scripts allows you to add meta data from text files. If you can create a text file for each of your multimedia files, you can import the tags to Media Monkey. So???? This is incredibly powerful. I have written a script that creates these required text files from a tabbed delimited text file. You can therefore do all your editing in a text editor or in excel and dump the tags to your media library. You don't have to edit the tags one at a time. If you already have the data in a file or database, you can easily convert it to the simple tabbed text format and save countless hours of editing.

I have created a file for all of my E-Rolls and emulation files so any of my customers ( now use Media Monkey to organize and play their files. Media Monkey has no problem slurping tags from MP3 files but we who use MIDI have been left in the dark until now.

I have also been using Media Monkey as the force behind a very inexpensive media file storage and playing system that can be assembled for very little money and that can produce excellent audio. It has been tested on a fine stereo system, the like of which I will never personally own. I will be posting some details about this system in the near future.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Surge protector that works!!!

I returned home to find that a fire had damaged my workshop while I was away. A power surge of over 1000 volts was caused by a falling 60kv transmission line. This happens all the time where I live because PG & E has constructed one of the worst transmission and distribution systems of anywhere in the US. I used to loose from $200 to $10,000 worth of line connected equipment every winter, until I discovered a surge protector that actually works.
Virtually all surge protectors that are affordable to consumers, who are not wealthy, contain metal oxide varistors (MOVs) as their primary protective device. MOVs are very useful but they are far from perfect for protection against surges. They absorb energy in a surge by converting it to heat. When the voltage across which they are connected, rises above a certain design level, they become less resistive and act like a clamp. The more MOVs and the higher the rating (in joules of energy) the greater the protection. The intensity and duration of the surge determine whether or not the protection will be adequate. MOVs are great for short duration spikes even at very high voltages. They act quickly and offer for many common scenarios. They are not good for protection against a long duration high voltage. They are simply destroyed and so is the connected load. There are other problems with MOVs of which most people are unaware.
MOVs are damaged by “stress”. Their ability to absorb energy continually decreases as they are subjected to high voltages, over time. There is no way to determine the remaining capacity other than by destructive testing. Visual appearance will indicate a MOV that is destroyed and there are measurements that can be made to indicate if they are “functioning” but there is no way to know what capacity remains. Therefore the only way to assure protection is to replace them regularly. This can get expensive. Another little known fact is that MOVs can fail in a shorted condition. If they are connected again to the line, they can flare, creating a hot plasma that can start fires. If you have a power surge that trips the breaker or results in a power outage, you can have a fire once the power is restored. Better surge protectors have fuses or circuit breakers upstream of the MOVs to prevent a damaged MOV from being connected to the line. Many do not including the one that started a fire on my desk on year.
There is only one line of protectors of which I am aware, that works in a different and preferable way. Most people do not have the severe surges that I get, which are technically called “faults” because they are of long duration. However, the cost of these protectors is only slightly higher than the competition and their clever design also protects the MOVs in such a way that they are likely to last longer than those in other devices. Here is the secret:
Panamax makes a variety of surge protectors. Many of them are of the conventional design but one series has a feature called “protect or disconnect”. If you see this phrase on the package or the datasheet, this device is what I will describe. If it is not specifically stated, it is not likely to have this feature. The model M4-EX is one example of such a device. There are many other but even more that do not have this critical feature.
Protect of disconnect, works by sensing the line voltage and disconnecting the load from the line if voltage either too high or too low. Voltage level and time constants are built into the device are well chosen. The device rarely triggers falsely. The load is connected through an electromechanical relay which acts as a “deadman” switch. If there is any problem with the protective circuitry, the most likely result will be the disconnection of the load. Because the device also reacts to low voltage conditions, it protects against brownout caused damage as well.
The Panamax “protect or disconnect” surge protectors have several MOVs, but the majority are connected to the load side of the disconnect relay. This means that they are protected against surges as well and are less likely to suffer from stress induced capacity reduction.
It is amazing that Panamax makes these excellent devices are affordable prices. Most surge protectors offer little protection. They often include an insurance policy and you may actually collect but if you want your valuable equipment truly protected it is better to buy a quality device instead.
There is one scenario that the Panamax will not protect against. In five years, I have had only one failure to protect a device connected to a Panamax protector. This was due to a faulty design of the device, not the Panamax. A distribution line had become partially disconnected at a cross arm, creating what is called a “floater”. The line voltage continued to swing from low to high over a sustained period. I was sleeping and every time the power went on or off, I assumed it would be the last. I should have gotten up and shut off the main but I was unclear as to what was happening. The device that failed was a new refrigerator. The designer of this expensive piece of crap (Amana, but this is made by Maytag along with other brands such as Jenn Aire) did not bother to include a start delay in the design. This is a serious oversight. A start delay is a time delay relay that prevents the compressor from “short cycling” so that it does not start under a loaded condition. This was common practice in all refrigeration units until recently. New refrigerators do not use mechanical thermostats and defrost timers. They use microcontrollers and temperature sensors. This is done primarily to reduce cost. A circuit board that is the functional equivalent of two thermostats and a defrost cycle timer costs considerably less to manufacture and install. When these cheap boards fail (due to a power surge, for example) they are not cheap to replace. The manufactures sell them at highly inflated prices. The disturbing fact is that a start delay would cost nothing to add to such a control board. It would require a minor modification to the program residing in the microcontroller chip. I cannot imagine how a competent engineer could leave out such an important design factor. My guess is that the manufacturer prefers failures that can be blamed on power quality. They do not have to cover such damage under their warrantees and can sell expensive replacement parts. My refrigerator was replaced under warrantee but the appliance dealer probably had to call it a compressor failure and not mention power problems. Once I got the refrigerator home, the first thing I did was to install a start delay relay which cost me about $25.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Better than Olive Opus, A review!!

In the quest for a quality digital audio file server we next tried the Sonos Zone Player and the Sonos remote controller. Since we wanted only digital output we did not need the Zone controller with a built-in amplifier. The output was to be directed to an ADC contained within a Mark Levinson CD player. The player has coaxial SPDIF input and the Sonos has SFDIF coaxial output so it seemed like a perfect match.

The Sonos does not store audio files, it merely receives a digital stream through the network and outputs to the stereo system. The Mark Levinson DAC has the best Burr Brown (Texas Instruments) device available a few years ago. Before the digital data is sent to the DAC, it is re-clocked to eliminate jitter.

What could go wrong, all we needed was a decent digital audio stream for the Mk. Lev to do its job?

The Sonos has a full compliment of useful features. It is light-years ahead of the Olive Opus in terms of user friendliness. It is actually possible to find exactly what you want to play from an extensive library and to set up programs and playlists without having to spend a week reading obscure documentation. We really had high hopes for this system. It couldn't be easier, buy a couple of boxes and plug them in.

We installed the Sonos and listened to some CDs that we know very well. We compared the sound of the Sonos to direct playing of CDs on the Mark Levinson CD player as well as playing through a $29 Turtle Beach USB sound card and through an Airport express. Itunes sucks for streaming to the Airport so we used Media Monkey together with Airfoil.

Our highly subjective opinion was that the $29 Turtle Beach sound card connected to a notebook computer with Toslink to the Mk Lev was the best sound. Next was the Airport via Media Monkey and Airfoil. Why did the Sonos not sound as good? We are talking about a digital stream that is being re-clocked by the Mark Levinson?

Before losing interest in this thread please consider that we did find an excellent solution to the digital file serving goal. For about $280 anyone could duplicate this system and produce results limited in quality only by the stereo to which you connect it.

My interest here is the hope that a reader will offer some suggestion as to why the Sonos does not sound as good as it should. Our evaluation was quite subjective but we used methods that we feel are appropriate for comparing realism and quality of recorded audio. We know that the Mark Levinson components connected to a dedicated 30-amp circuit can handle just about any music thrown at them. The B&W speakers are difficult to beat. Excellent recordings sound like excellent music on this system.

We chose familiar recordings and paid attention to a limited set of specific effects, comparing the sound when played from the CD to the sound when played from other sources. Out principle test CD was Leonard Bernstein's Final Concert. This is an excellent recording of Benjamin Britton's "Sea Pieces" and Beethoven's 7th Symphony. Both pieces cover the full range of dynamics and musical complexity. Subtle effects mix with substantial orchestral background in both pieces. The recording is clear and does not seem overly edited. There is a fair amount of "live performance" noise that was not edited out including grunts and groans from Bernstein, baton clicks and coughs from the audience. Listening to the recording under the best circumstances,one has the impression of a live performance, nothing distracts from that impression. Played through the Sonos (WAV file ripped to hard drive), the performance lacks this feel. In addition to a general impression, we concentrated on a few specific effects which we feel correlate with the impression of a live performance. Strangely enough a few of the most indicative effects were what most would consider defects. Bernstein's moaning and occasional baton clicks, sit on top of a full orchestra. In the best circumstances, they sound like what they are. In less than ideal circumstances, they are unidentifiable noise that confuses the brain. To us, it is better to have a clearly identifiable sound than a confusing noise that distracts you from the music.

We did not concentrate on just the noise, we also listened to a few specific instruments. Flute seems to be a good indicator of musical accuracy. Plucked violin strings are another good test sound. We could hear clear indications of instrument character and clarity in complex contexts when everything was working well and less than this in other cases. It is certainly possible that jitter could mask these subtle effects but the Mark Levison is re-clocking the digital stream. Why does the final solution (to be announced in a future post) sound so good but the Sonos doesn't? Why does the $29 Turtle Beach USB sound card sound better? And why does the final solution (to be announced soon) sound soooooooooooooooo good?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Something to avoid

A good friend of mine asked me, a while ago, about the idea of installing a digital file server to interface with his high-end stereo system. He is a dedicated audiophile who owns a wonderful system, mainly Mark Levinson components and B&W speakers. He wanted an audio file server that matched the quality of his existing system. I remember making some suggestions as to what to look for and what to avoid. My friend bought a device for which he had high hopes. This was the Olive Opus 4 digital music system. After many months of frustration trying to fit the things to his needs, he finally gave it to me. This was a mixed "blessing." I now own a file server on which I have loaded over 500 CDs. The audio quality is certainly good enough for my "better than average" system consisting of vintage NAD components. The negative side is that the rest of the system is worthless. Once you have spent many hours ripping your CDs to the internal hard drive (much of is wasted time due to some really horrible programming and inefficiency of process) you are stuck with incredibly primitive access to your music. In addition, the library file is almost impossible to edit with the provided tools and no option is provided to export the library or playlist files for editing in an external application. The manufacturer is good at making excuses, but there is no excuse for this!!! Itunes and Winamp both allow you to export and edit the metadata acquired in the riping process, but not the Olive Opus. You are supposed to edit each track's information with a buggy and slow application. Pretty much everything about the whole system, other than the quite decent D to A conversion and resulting sound quality, is disappointing to say the least. Stay tuned for the system that we finally put together that puts the Olive Opus to shame at a fraction of the cost.

Starting in a positive vain

To start the blog on a positive note, I'll mention one of my favorite toys that is joy to own. Actually, I own two of them, because I live in two places and liked the first one so much that I needed to buy a second. My favorite toy is my "Live Performance LX" reproducing piano system. I have one installed in a vintage Chickering piano and one in a vintage Weber piano. The performance is astounding due to superb engineering by the one man who has the most experience and understanding of modern reproducing piano system of anyone on earth. This is, of course, Wayne Stahnke who owns "LivePperformance" the manufacturer of the LX system. In time, I will be adding posts about what I have learned about maximizing my enjoyment of this fine toy.