I don’t think he eats worms any more.
As you recall from the first episode of this series, I received several kilos of paperwork from India about… something. The gist of it was — somebody had allegedly committed libel against somebody else, and they had put a law firm onto the case.
The law firm got it all firmly in hand, but neglected to tell me what to actually delete. Details, details. You can’t expect fine legal minds to concern themselves with details.
So today I got a new letter (by courier). Not many kilos this time, though:
|That’s not my email address|
|Excerpt of the letter from Mandal & Fox|
|Excerpt from the judge…|
So apparently I was sued? And I failed to appear? As did everybody else? But we were found guilty? I don’t know.
Anyway, I guess I should just do the lawyers’ work for them, and search for the offending item myself. Let’s see…
Ah, right. Found it. Seems legit to me. But totally libellous. Unless it’s true.
Anyway, I’m deleting. The Indian court can’t possibly be wrong.
My boss got the letter below today. As I don’t speak French, I’m not totally sure what it’s asking me to do, but I’ll assume that it wants me to remove the links in question.
The fascinating thing about this very geniune-looking (ahem) official letter is that it doesn’t mention who’s sending it. Who is the person who’s complaining? It’s just that single sheet of paper.
Anyway, I see that it mentions “500 000 euros”, so I’m assuming that that’s how much I owe someone. But who do I send it to? I want to get on transferring the money right now, since I don’t want to accrue any interests. Those interests can be killer!
|Very Official-Looking Letter|
Anyway, can somebody translate the French parts while I call the bank to see whether they know who I should send the money to?
|Very Official-Looking Envelope|
The main issue when I moved to the new flat, oh, three-ish years ago? I think, was how to listen to music.
I want to be able to walk between rooms, listening to the same music. This means that there has to be some kind of way to distribute music between the rooms.
I looked into various ready-made wireless systems like Sonos, but these all made The System the central point. I don’t want that. I want to be able to control the music in any way that I want to, which means from Emacs.
So I wanted (sort of) passive systems that would allow me to say “the volume in room X is Y”, and that would allow me to pause and skip the music from any room, while still tying into my own Emacs-based playing system.
The first element is the sound card. I settled on a RME Multiface box. It’s really a semiprofessional music routing card. It has a lot of inputs and a lot of outputs, and you can route any combinations of any inputs to any outputs, while controlling the volume. You see how this would work for me: I’d just play a flac file, while having each room be one stereo output, and I’d set the volume per output.
I now had all these outputs, but how would I get the music to the various rooms? I first tried a couple of wireless systems. They both had two problems: 1) There was a half-second latency, so if you heard sounds from different rooms, it sounded kinda psychadelic. 2) They didn’t work. That is, they had frequent drop-outs, and made beastly noises while doing so. I know, I know — nothing that’s wireless actually works.
My second idea was to try a powerline audio thing. The bandwidth requirements for audio are pretty minuscule, so I thought there might be a chance that something like this would work. But, as with the wireless systems, it 1) had a beastly latency and 2) didn’t work. The drop-outs were even more brutal.
So: Wires it is. I’d have to install wires between all the rooms to get music to them. But what kind of wires?
That’s when I learned the magical word: balun. It means “balanced/unbalanced”, or something like that. Basically, a balun is a device that takes an unbalanced signal (like RCA audio) and makes is balanced (or what we computer people call differential).
Doing research over the intertubes I found a few companies selling this stuff. The baluns are generally non-powered, and use cat5 cabling. Like these babies:
They are just perfect! You just hook them up to your audio outputs, string some cat5 to a different room, plug another one in there, and plug the audio output into whatever amplifier/speakers you have there.
The sound quality is totally fine, too. That is, I can’t hear anything obviously bad. There’s bass, and there’s treble, and there’s the middle part. Perfect!
The main problem is, of course, all the cabling. That means a lot of these:
And some stretches off wall that look like this:
|Cat5. Wouldn’t bet on the e|
Ok, some of those are Ethernet.
That’s a lot of hammering and drilling, but it’s totally worth it. It just works 100%. No drop-outs, no odd noises, no latency. And the fi is so hi.
Wired is the new black.
When I came home today, I found a magpie (Pica Pica) sitting on top of my outlet box. That’s on the fourth floor, so it had flown up the stairs. Confused bird.
Anyway, I thought could just open the window and let it fly out, but it flew on up to the top floor where there’s no windows. So I got some gloves on, preparing to grab it and carry it down, and let it fly out the window on my floor.
Whaddayouknow! Birds are difficult to grab. And magpies make really loud, startling sounds at a 20cm distance.
Anyway, I kinda was able so shoo shoo it down to the open window, and it totally got the idea once it saw the window. It only bounced its head against the other window (which was closed) a couple of times.
Anyway: Success! Fly birdie! Fly!
Telldus launched a new version of their nifty USB-based “home automation” thingy a couple of months ago. It’s mostly the same as the last version, but this one can receive signals as well as send signals.
This means that you can buy stuff like this switch, glue it onto a wall somewhere, and control your lights more like a normal person. Instead of having to use computer-ey interface. Like an animal!
It works pretty well. As before, the USB interface exposes a serial interface. To get it working under Linux, you need to tell it about the serial numbers, because this devices is brand new:
options ftdi_sio vendor=0x1781 product=0x0c31
After doing that, the device shows up as /dev/ttyUSB0, and if it receives something, it spits out data like
|Wireless Wall Switch Sticky-Taped On To The Wall|
So you basically just stick lots of switches on the wall, and then create rules to respond to these strings.
I’ve updated the Emacs code.
It seems to work pretty well. There range is OK — it kinda goes through one wall, and kinda works over 7 meters. But it’s not 100%, which is annoying. I’ve bought two devices, so far, to get coverage over the flat, but I think I might need one more.
Anything that’s wireless sucks, but being able to just glue switches anywhere is pretty awesome.