Mini-Review: Definitive Technology AW5500 Outdoor Speakers

Definitive Technology AW5500Not long after I started this blog I described my plan for delivering Whole House Audio. To summarize, at various locations on the property we pair a Logitech Squeezebox with semi-pro powered audio monitors. The Squeezeboxes can be synchronized, delivering the ability to play music across the entire property, with independent control of level at each location. Or we can play different things at different places, all under control of the Logitech Media Server’s web interface, or apps on our handheld devices.

Even though the Squeezebox is no longer made, this remains a pretty sweet setup. In the summer of 2013 I added a pair of Definitive Technology AW6500 outdoor speakers under the eave of the garage, providing music into the back yard. In truth, I had planned to install these on the front porch but they proved too large for that site. Rather than return the speakers, I deployed them in the back yard where they have been serving us nicely.

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The UC Architects Podcast: Walking The HDVoice Walk

UC Architects in Lenovo X-1-CarbonBack in 1984 Ric Ocasek of The Cars quite famously sang, “You might think I’m crazy.” That sentiment underscores how I feel about HDVoice as a tool for podcasters. It’s a constant source of amazement to me that so many podcasters, even some in the Enterprise UC business, still publish podcasts with audio quality in the finest narrowband tradition of the PSTN circa 1937.

In the past I have occasionally called attention to these offerings. I see them as  a telecom version of The Emperors New Clothes. This has given rise to a reputation for being something of an audio snob, a not entirely unfounded assertion. However, a fellow Canuck one opinioned, “that the medium is the message.” While McLuhan was addressing television, I hold his assertion to be equally valid with respect to UC podcasts.

I am truly trying to shed my curmudgeonly audiophile image. It gives me great pleasure to note that The UC Architects current podcast, while episode 48 in their series, the first that I have encountered, is produced in lovely HDVoice. Kudos to the team for making the effort!

Their podcast is focused upon things Microsoft, from Exchange to Lync (aka Skype-For-Business.) That’s certainly a big topic area.

As a SOHO user, I may not be in their target audience, but I commend them for making the effort to deliver a podcast the goes beyond traditional telephony as it’s means of production.

Grandstream On SIP For Surveillance

VUC529-promoVUC529 on Friday, February 20th will feature Grandstream Networks addressing issues of security and surveillance. Phil Bowers, Global Marketing Communications Manager, will be discussing their range of security cameras and new NVR-3550 network video recorder. One of the key things he will highlight is the natural synergy between SIP telephony and the video surveillance requirements common to business installations.

This appearance arises in part from my own recent effort to install a couple of surveillance cameras on our property. We now have several of their GXV3672-FHD “bullet” cameras monitoring the area around our home & office. Our goal in this effort was primarily to keep watch on our vehicles, which are typically parked on the street.

We have had the cameras installed for several weeks, but very recently deployed the new Grandstream GVR3550 Network Video Recorder (NVR). It replaced a Windows PC as the means of recording and managing the camera feeds.

This is the start of a series of posts that I’ll be crafting documenting how we came to select the gear deployed in our installation. If all goes as planned the collection will comprise a “SOHO/SMB Guide to Video Surveillance.”

Manuel Kasper Announces The End Of m0n0wall Project

This morning’s email included a message from Manuel Kasper, leader of the m0n0wall project. On the very day that is the 12th anniversary of the project he has announced that he’s bringing it to an end.

I’ve used m0n0wall for at least a decade. For several years I’ve intended to migrate to pfsense, a project that was initially forked from m0n0wall. m0n0wall’s NAT implementation is just so very SIP friendly that making the change always felt like a lot of effort. I suppose now there’s an additional reason to follow through on that plan.

Manuel didn’t elaborate on his reasons, but I certainly understand the possibilities. Twelve years is along time to do anything, most especially anything that involves leading a community project.

m0n0wall has been a treat to use. It’s positively inspirational in it’s combination of carefully defined functionality and simplicity. Manuel was masterful in his ability to sustain the project focus, avoiding the mistake of trying to be all things to all people.