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Elusive Silence: iPhone XLR Mic Interface Noise Floor Comparison [VIDEO]

During my time in the Boston University film production program, we students were given access to some nice mics, and by that I mean the $1000 Sennheiser MKH-416 shotgun mic. It’s called a shotgun mic because it looks a bit like the barrel of a firearm.  Its tubular shape helps it accept sound that’s in front of it and reject sound from all other directions – which is handy when you’re trying to record any specific sound by itself e.g. dialogue and not, say, a nearby bus. In the sound kit film students were lent, this mic was paired with an aluminum Nagra reel-to-reel field recorder the size of a small briefcase of money.  To this day Nagra units are valued at between $1000 and $5000.  Together these two pieces of equipment were capable of capturing sounds richly and beautifully. So much so that during production I was often distracted by the allure of some stumbled upon mundane-turned-magical noise: the piquant clink of a china teacup laid on its saucer, the exquisite baritone creak of a wooden door or the majestic chattering fury of a squirrel on high. (more…)


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The Pet Keeper

amanforallspeciesOne morning on the way back from Mystic CT, we stopped  at a stupendous outdoor used book shop called the Book Barn.  It’s a cross between a tag sale and an abandoned carnival  but with more cats.   We roamed the grounds for nearly an hour and eventually found a cashier.   In an effort to understand Fred the Parrot‘s wily behaviors, Chelsea got some pet-bird oriented books including A Man for All Species: The Remarkable Adventures of an Animal Lover and Expert Pet Keeper.  The cover did not appeal to me at first, but there is an old saying about that. (more…)


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Tesla Model S Test Drive

The Model S has gotten some great press lately.  It’s been lauded as ‘the safest car ever tested’ by the US Government and it garnered the highest score of any car ever tested by Consumer Reports.  Here’s my take:

On January 12th 2013, we travelled to White Plains NY to test drive the Tesla Model S.  Thanks to Elon Musk’s steady handed leadership and wonderfully transparent marketing, Tesla had been on my radar as a probable next car for some time.  The allure of  its staggering mechanical simplicity, instant power delivery, silent operation and promise of a full ‘gas tank’ every morning had won me over before before ever seeing one firsthand.  While visiting Washington state , we’d popped into the Tesla’s Seattle mall showroom to inquire about a test drive.  Turned out there was a 2 week waiting list so we sat in the demo and pushed its buttons.  A disembodied powertrain was also there for examination and seeing the car’s entire inner workings there on the floor was quite inspiring to someone who’d spent months working beneath a more conventional (and far more complicated) internal combustion design. (more…)


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The Case of the Counterfeit Powerjolt Dual Micro

Griffin Powerjolt Dual Counterfeit

Counterfeit on the left, genuine on the right.

T he Griffin Powerjolt Dual Micro is reputedly an excellent USB car charger.  It outputs the proper 5 volts at 1 amp for an iPhone and it has a breaker-like surge protection feature called the ‘Smartfuse’.  It sports two USB ports yet fits almost entirely in the cigarette lighter barrel.   Many people have been happy with it, but on Amazon there are some odd reviews of late.  People have complained that the quality control has gone downhill or, more surprisingly, that they received a counterfeit product.   I would have thought that counterfeit products on Amazon would be dealt with swiftly and thoroughly, given their stern anti-counterfeiting policy, but sometimes things are not as they seem. (more…)


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Elusive Silence: iPhone XLR Mic Interface Noise Floor Comparison [VIDEO]

During my time in the Boston University film production program, we students were given access to some nice mics, and by that I mean the $1000 Sennheiser MKH-416 shotgun mic. It’s called a shotgun mic because it looks a bit like the barrel of a firearm.  Its tubular shape helps it accept sound that’s in front of it and reject sound from all other directions – which is handy when you’re trying to record any specific sound by itself e.g. dialogue and not, say, a nearby bus. In the...
article post
thumbnail Turtle Speed article post

The Pet Keeper

One morning on the way back from Mystic CT, we stopped  at a stupendous outdoor used book shop called the Book Barn.  It’s a cross between a tag sale and an abandoned carnival  but with more cats.   We roamed the grounds for nearly an hour and eventually found a cashier.   In an effort to understand Fred the Parrot‘s wily behaviors, Chelsea got some pet-bird oriented books including A Man for All Species: The Remarkable Adventures of an Animal Lover and Expert Pet Keeper.  The cover did not appeal...
article post
thumbnail A bored Barred Owl article post

Tesla Model S Test Drive

The Model S has gotten some great press lately.  It’s been lauded as ‘the safest car ever tested’ by the US Government and it garnered the highest score of any car ever tested by Consumer Reports.  Here’s my take: On January 12th 2013, we travelled to White Plains NY to test drive the Tesla Model S.  Thanks to Elon Musk’s steady handed leadership and wonderfully transparent marketing, Tesla had been on my radar as a probable next car for some time.  The allure of  its staggering mechanical simplicity, instant power delivery, silent operation...
article post

The Case of the Counterfeit Powerjolt Dual Micro

T he Griffin Powerjolt Dual Micro is reputedly an excellent USB car charger.  It outputs the proper 5 volts at 1 amp for an iPhone and it has a breaker-like surge protection feature called the ‘Smartfuse’.  It sports two USB ports yet fits almost entirely in the cigarette lighter barrel.   Many people have been happy with it, but on Amazon there are some odd reviews of late.  People have complained that the quality control has gone downhill or, more surprisingly, that they received a counterfeit product.   I would...
article post
thumbnail Microwaving Dry Oatmeal article post

Fred the parrot and an oatmeal container

Fred is a wily parrot that, for better or worse, has found an ecological niche in the kitchen. He survives by foraging like a ground fowl on the counter, gnawing on wood trim and pooping...
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