It may be that in my old age I’m becoming forgetful. Or perhaps I’m just too enthused about what I’m doing, and little things get forgotten? I write this in the hope that it helps me to remember.
For years I’ve used a Sennheiser DW Pro2 DECT headset in my home office. It connects to a Polycom VVX-600 and my desktop computer. This trio serves me very well, but occasionally I reach for the headset and find that its battery is dead.
A few months ago I made some observation of how Grandstream had come to be in-use around my home & office. I especially appreciate their surveillance gear. The GVC cameras and NVR are in 2/47 service and have served us well the past couple of years.
That said, two problems have cropped up recently that bear examination.
Wanted: New Desktop PC. Must be the strong, silent type. Windows only. Laptops need not apply.
Warning: The following may well be a rationalization.
The arrival of the Logitech Brio webcam reminded me that my computers are now aged. Neither my desktop, nor laptop, are capable of reliably producing 1080p or 4K video streams.
In the case of the laptop, a second generation Lenovo X1 Carbon circa 2013, I’m not particularly bothered by this reality. I don’t expect a laptop, especially an ultrabook, to do such things.
Given that I optioned it well originally (8 GB memory, 256 GB SSD) the Lenovo is still a lovely device for the various tasks where I truly need portability. I can get another year from it without issue.
The desktop is another matter entirely. Its time has past. It has started to let me down in some significant ways. I’ve tinkered with its internals over these past five years. Its lone, traditional hard drive was augmented by an SSD boot volume early in its tenure, a third physical drive a little later on.
Its AMD FX6100 CPU, with 6 cores, first appeared in 2011. Clocked at 3.6 GHz it draws 95 watts. Upgrading the CPU would require a new motherboard, which in turn dictates a new power supply. While memory and storage can easily be upgraded, swapping out the host CPU is rarely worth the trouble on a system this old.
Never fear, we’re big believers in technology recycling. Our older computers often get demoted to lesser service hereabouts. For example, my previous desktop is our current music server. Alternatively, they may get wiped and gifted to someone who might have use of them despite their age.
Now, looking ahead…
Not long ago I revisited the state of small-form-factor desktops. I remain certain that I want a desktop. I just don’t want a hulking big box. After all, those big sheet metal boxes are mostly empty.
A short while ago Chris Koehncke posed the question, “Is 4K video viable for a WebRTC web application?” He also offered a well-reasoned opinion. While there’s technical support for 4K in browsers, and 4K webcams are starting to appear, in various ways bandwidth remains a constraint. As a purely practical matter, and in the most common use case, he’s perfectly correct.
The folks over at the Red5Pro blog offer a mildly dissenting opinion. They note that for use-cases beyond video conferencing, most especially one-way streams, 4K is quite practical. People stream Netflix at 4K. Heck, I’ve done it myself at least once or twice.