Sorry for the lack of blogging. It comes as a surprise to me that it’s been ten days since my last posting, which is probably mostly a reflection of keeping busy with Audio Damage’s latest product.

I managed to fry one of the chips on the PCB I described in my previous entry. I was measuring something with a DMM and the probe slipped off the pin and shorted two adjacent pins. Unfortunately one of those pins was connected to the +12V supply, and the other pin was connected to one of the outputs of a $20 DAC chip. That was the end of at least one, if not both, chips. Oh well. read more

Hand-soldering MSOP Parts

I mentioned awhile ago that I’ve been hand-soldering rather small SMT parts. I received my latest batch of PCBs from BatchPCB.com last week and populated the most interesting one over the weekend. It has two MSOP parts on it with leads on 0.5mm centers. Here’s one of the chips next to a drafting triangle; the tic marks on the vertical edge are millimeters and the marks on the horizontal edge are sixteenths of an inch.

IMG 0560

(Sorry for the bad lighting.) Yep, it’s pretty small. Here’s a shot of the PC board. The two MSOP parts will go on the pads near the bottom, labeled “LDAC1” and “LDAC2”. The holes in between labeled “4.096V” and “5V” are 0.1 inch apart. read more

RAM is Cheap

Just in case you haven’t noticed–and I hadn’t until a day or so ago–some computer memory is stupid-cheap these days. I just ordered two 1GB SODIMMs for a laptop (the most it can hold) for $26, shipped free, from Amazon. Oddly enough the same capacity of RAM on DIMMs for one of the desktops here was $71; don’t ask me to explain that difference. A 2GB SODIMM for my netbook was $23. (If I’m really lucky I can take the 1GB module out of the netbook and put it into the tablet, bumping its total up to 2GB, and gee, I should consider moving from 2GB to 3GB in my main PC, mumble mumble…) read more

You Might Have Money Waiting For You. No, Really.

This is going to sound completely like a scam, so feel free to ignore me in skepticism. I’d try to assure you by stating that I draw no benefit whatsoever from posting this information here (other than generating some website traffic, I suppose) but you’d probably dismiss that with well-founded skepticism also.


There is a website here that provides links to a bunch of state goverment sites for unclaimed property. To quote the FAQ from that site, “unclaimed property (sometimes referred to as abandoned) refers to accounts in financial institutions and companies that have had no activity generated or contact with the owner for one year or a longer period. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificates (in some states), insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safe deposit boxes.” In short, it’s money or other valuable stuff that has somehow become disconnected from its owner. read more

Sony’s New Stupid Piece of S—

There’s a video here that’s quite funny if you’ve ever been frustrated by some new consumer-electronics gadget. (I’m guessing that this applies to anyone who reads this blog, i.e. anyone with a computer.) Note that the soundtrack is heavily laden with profanity, so use headphones if you’re at work or otherwise within earshot of someone who might be offended by colorful language.


I realize that postings here have been a little sparse recently. I guess I haven’t had much to say lately. Here’s a post that doesn’t have much to say either.

I was reflecting upon how it’s been 25 years since the Macintosh made its debut, after its eyebrow-raising advertisement ran during the Superbowl. 25 years later many of the user-interface concepts that were made popular by the Macintosh, such as moveable windows, pull-down menus, icons for files and folders, etc., are still in use, virtually unaltered. (Note that I said “made popular”. Apple didn’t actually invent most of these concepts, nor was the Mac the first product to use them.) Contemporary computers are faster are more colorful than the original Mac, but fundamentally they’re not all that different. On the other hand, the Mac was very different than any computer that was around 25 years before it. So if we’re all ostensibly being carried along by an exponential curve of technological growth, why have computer-human interfaces stayed more or less the same for the past 25 years? read more