End of the Line For 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones

Back in June 2016 I took a chance and bought the 1MORE Triple Driver in-Ear Earphones. While they seemed well-regarded, and well priced, their performance proved to be disappointing. For listening to music I eventually switched to a new pair of Etymotic ER3XR ear buds.

I continued to use the 1More headset for listening to podcasts, most typically when I was walking the dogs. The means that I used them quite routinely. So, it’s worth noting that, after two-and-a-half years, they’ve reached a point where they are physically degraded to the point of not being usable. In essence, I’ve discovered their lifespan.

The insulation on the wires from the point of the Y to the individual ear buds is now seriously brittle and falling away. This happened more on the right-hand side, which has the volume control. That’s because I often listen using just that side while walking the dogs. This helps me maintain greater situational awareness, which is important when walking two large dogs on leash.

At this point, the wire from the 3.5mm plug to the Y-point is not similarly degraded. I expect this is because it has a protective covering of woven cloth.

I cannot recall another headset that was so short-lived.

Videomaker Reviews the NewTek NDI HX-PTZ1 Camera

Not long ago I openly admitted that I wear the rants in the family. This goes along those lines. It was inspired by the Chris Monlux’s review of the NewTek NDI HX-PTZ1 Camera published January 14th by Videomaker Magazine. I found this review to be deeply disappointing, and I’d like to tell you why.

First, take the time to read their review. I’ll wait. And you need the context.

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The MagPi: Build A Raspberry Pi Telephone Exchange

Earlier this week, The MagPi, the official Raspberry Pi magazine, published a how-to article on creating a wee PBX using a Raspberry Pi, RasPBX and a couple of SIP phones. They invite people to “Transform your humble home phone line into a feature-packed PBX with Raspberry Pi and Asterisk!”

The MagPi Cover 79

I’ve been tinkering with Raspberry Pi for some while. It’s fun little platform. I’m actually awaiting the delivery of an Asus Tinker board so that I can explore the use of such an SBC that’s capable of UHD video output.

It amuses me that this MagPi article appears some 13 years(!) after I wrote How-To: Building an Embedded Asterisk Server for Tim Higgins at Small Net Builder.

Back then, there was nothing like the Pi, so I used a Soekris Net 4801. Being Intel-based, it could run a lightweight Linux-based OS and regular Asterisk distro. I used Astlinux, which was brand new at the time.

Everything old is new again. Except me, of course.

Tip of the hat to WhyADuck for pointing out this article.

NDI-to-HDMI on the cheap?

There is no question that Newtek’s NDI is rocking the world of video production. Whether in corporate video, educational video, live streaming or low-end broadcast, it allows a transition to IP transport that’s profoundly attractive in many ways.

NDI delivers high quality video at very low latency, under one frame of video. A 1080p60 NDI stream requires at most around 150 mbps. This is ideal for production applications, which are quite separate from transmission/delivery, where lower bitrates are preferred and some seconds of delay is tolerable.

ClueCon NDI Feed on Monitor

In the early days of NDI, if you needed to view an NDI signal on a monitor that required a Windows PC running NDI Studio Monitor. This is an application that can pick the stream off the network and display it on a monitor. It has some nice features, like the ability to overlay a second stream (picture-in-picture) and show audio metering.

I used this approach at Cluecon 2018, with a very small PC purchased just for the task (pictured above.)

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Life with Pie: A Pixel Two Years On

Google Pixel Live of Pie 300pxAs you may recall, I had something of an issue with my Pixel mobile phone back in September. The August update to Google’s Android Pie OS badly mismanaged the Wi-Fi radio, resulting in battery life measured in minutes vs hours. On a typical day, with limited use, the phone needed to visit the charger by 1pm simply because the Wi-Fi was enabled. This was entirely unacceptable for phone just 16 months old.

Like a good fan-boy, I reported the trouble to Google, who took as much information as I could give, without ever admitting to a problem. Their team of online volunteers handed out anecdotal info, essentially home remedies, without regard for reality. Some users simply thought that 12-18 months was about all you could expect from the battery, and it was time to replace the phone.

Google’s own support team (Tier 3 no less!) took over six weeks to advise that the battery was faulty and should be replaced. This did not jive with my experience, which was that the behavior started when an OS update was installed.

I explored the battery replacement with our local uBreakiFix store. I was referred to them by Google. That was an $80 remedy that could possibly mask the underlying issue. I decided not to bother.

Time passed.  A few more OS updates arrived. Now, as my Pixel turns two year old, its battery life is back to normal. If it comes off the charger at around 7am, with Wi-Fi enabled, it lasts the full day with light use. It no longer gets warm in my pocket. It seems that Google eventually addressed the problem of managing the Wi-Fi radio. The problem that they never admitted existed.

Last week I had to spend some time at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists. I had only expected to be there a couple hours, but it turned into almost the entire day. As I was mostly killing time in the waiting area, I was using the Pixel heavily. By 2pm its battery was so depleted that I ran to a nearby shop to purchase a USB-C charging cable. That was to be expected, given the age of the phone and my preference for a bright screen.

In September, I was angry at Google. They were difficult to deal with and did not seem willing to take responsibility for their product. They were evasive, which I found deeply offensive.

It’s finally rolled around to time that I would normally be considering a new phone. I’m not angry anymore, but I do still feel like I was burned by Google. Not enough to jump to Apple. Maybe enough to consider Samsung. I haven’t carried a Samsung phone since the Galaxy Nexus back in 2012.

Google needs to get it’s head in the game. If you make the product, you need to take ownership of the issues. Openly and honestly. Their present support effort is seriously lacking.

Review: Logitech’s Brio 4K Webcam Pro

My how time flies. It hard to believe that I’ve had Logitech’s Brio 4k Webcam Pro in my office for well over a year. While I reported some cursory observations here and here, I’ve yet to give it a proper review…until now.

Brio is Logitech’s first 4K webcam.

As you may recall, I was quite eager to get my hands on a next-generation webcam. I had high hopes for what might be possible using a faster USB 3 connection to the host and a more modern sensor. Brio certainly addresses those areas and more.

My initial evaluation of Brio stalled for quite some time. At that time neither my desktop nor laptop, both a circa 2013, were up to the task of handling 4k video in real-time. While I was using Brio every week, I wasn’t properly able to exercise the little beast.

Happily, the eventual purchase of the Airtop-PC has provided a more than capable host platform. The Airtop has the CPU, GPU and connectivity necessary to cope with 4K video without breaking a sweat. Or making a peep.

Further, as part of my preparations for ClueCon 2018 I upgraded my vMix license to the 4K edition. This gave me both 4K capability and remote control of the PTZ Optics NDI cameras that I rented from Tom Sinclair at Eastern Shore Broadcasting.

Suitably tooled up for the task, I’ve been able to give the little Brio more of a workout in recent months. What follows are my observations from daily use and a series of experiments.

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