Radiometer Electronics / RE: Technology / Confusing Dutch Company / Distortion Analyzer

This happened like a year ago, but I’m trying to get through my long ass list of projects. Most of them are small and trivial, and I hesitate to even post them here. Wow, you cut a cord, flipped the polarity and now your power supply is negative-center! Huzzah! I mean I was pretty proud of that, but yeah – not really “post worthy”.

Oh, but this one is.

So I like to pretend I’m learning about audio electronics. I read some stuff, try and pick out the gist of it.. sort of like reading an abstract of a paper instead of the whole thing. About 2 years ago I decided I want to build speakers, or repair amps, or some stupid shit. Why? dunno. But it seemed like a cool hobby, with lots of smart people, and I desperately want to be smart.

So while I bungle my way around an oscilloscope, and trying to trace circuits ( and failing mostly ) – I see this beauty on ebay: an RE:256 Distortion Analyzer. Distortion / Spectrum Analyzers aren’t really important for basic audio electronics – but past a certain point they matter a whole lot. And the good ones remain expensive – vintage HP’s are in the $500+ range. So when I saw this RE256 at like $150… I was excited. Now, do I need a distortion analyzer? well no. But it seemed like it would be great to have. For example, I could test the distortion on an amp, make some changes, and see if I had improved it or not.

Researching the re256 was not easy. I mean – look at the search terms here:

“RE”
“256”
“Distortion”
“Analyzer”

I seriously don’t know how I got my first break, but I came across an audio forum talking about the RE204 Distortion Analyzer, and how it was super well made, and awesome. Hard to find, and replacement parts were non-existent. I don’t know why, but it was like the hooks were in. Because if there is one thing better than owning a useful piece of equipment – it is owning a super rare, hard to find version. Well, you might say the latter impacts the former, and you’d be right! But the heart only knows what it wants. And I wanted it.

In my mind – the 256 was just a “better” version of the 204. I don’t know why I thought that – but sadly, it is a common mistake i make. So of course I bid, and of course I won – and of course things went down hill from there.

The Monitor

So when it showed up, I was excited – and immediately disappointed. See, other analyzer like the hp 8903 have a digital display on it.


I thought I saw one on the RE256. I was wrong. I also quickly realized there aren’t even any buttons on this fucking thing. It is just a big black box with some jacks on it. Well, no worries – I can plug in a monitor, and sure it needs an older 5pin keyboard, but no worries. I have adapters. Note the unrealistic optimism here, and the beginning of the Sunk Cost fallacy. This is an ongoing theme in my life, along with the “cut twice, forget to measure” thing. So I get my plugs and my monitors, and hook it all up, and nothing happens. No signal, etc. Now I’m not too worried, because I didn’t buy this “as-is” this fucking thing is supposed to work. So I must be making a mistake here. So I started on a quest for a user manual.

The Search

I also relish a good “search”. Fun to obsess about you know?:It took a while, but this is what I found out:

  • RE stands for “Radiometer Electronics” a dutch company. At some point it split in half with Audio on oneside, and medical tech on the other. The medical tech is still being made – the audio died out.
  • Parts are beyond impossible to find. There are a few replacement boards floating around on ebay – each priced $600+
  • Manuals are hard to find
  • I was able to find out some stuff about the RE204, and 500 series gear… but not much on the 256.

And then I had a breakthrough – look at this beauty.

Thank you “Test & Measurement World” magazine! Look at all that shit it does! I’m excited again. In a short period of time I realize I need

  • Vintage monitor
  • Vintage keyboard
  • Programming manuals

So one of the many twists here is that the RE256 is designed as an automated tester – like I read about the RE204 (link) there is programming done in BASIC ( woo! ). But I’m hoping I can find the actual programs out there somewhere. I set this in the back of my head as I race to Goodwill.. surely they will have what I need. I come back with an old keyboard, some adapters, but no monitor.

As I try and read up on what kind of monitor I will actually need – I fall into a deep deep rabbit hole.

Next time: Scanlines.

Democrats for Donald Trump. How to worship our new King.

donald_trump_cinco_de_mayo_590Watching the transition process has gotten me thinking about what is motivating Trump. Fame, perhaps and always money. Personally I believe he will struggle with the negative attention he will receive as president. He truly does lack the temperament for the job.

I don’t believe he has a hard set political philosophy that guides him. As best I can tell Adoration and Profit are what moves him. I’m sure there is more, but that is what I have seen in the past. I’ve been wondering if if Donald Trump might not be a great vehicle for the liberals.

He has no loyalty to the GOP. Does he have loyalty to the people who elected him? I think it is telling that he reportedly wants to keep having rallies (!). What if the left could become his new cheering squad? What if we could give him the things he needs, and get our policies passed in return?

I have no doubt that Donald is corrupt – to the point that the only questions he might ask himself are “Is this legal” “Will I get caught” “How large the impact if I’m caught”. I don’t believe there are any ethical considerations of his. Well maybe “loyalty”. He does seem to respect that.

So knowing he can be bought – how do we go about doing it. The money part is straightforward. Make our policies be profitable for Donald. The Adoration part.. would be more complicated, but perhaps a vocal “Democrats for Donald” that encouraged his liberal moves – just total Donald fandom and basically worship – like that of a king. I think if there were cheering groups of people outside his building, it would do more to get his attention. Sort of like positive attention for a child, vs Negative.

What if Obamacare could make him rich? What if a conservative Supreme Court would somehow hurt him?

I think that self interest is the fulcrum on which to shift him.

 

Why is the next button on the left? “CANCEL/BACK/OK. ” “CANCEL/OK” vs “OK/CANCEL”

stupid-as-fuck-next-button

Why the ever-living fuck isn’t the NEXT > Button on the right?

  • We read from left to right. So the concept of motion is left to right.. so why does choosing the rightmost button take you backwards?!
  • This metaphor of pages turning, or moving places from left to right is so ingrained in this example, there is even a FUCKING RIGHT ARROW.

Back / Cancel should be on the LEFT, and Next on the RIGHT. Look, I can maybe see this layout used if the user is about to do something really fucking scary… maybe wipe a hard drive? But in that case you would probably want to highlight cancel.

I see this shit all the time, and I swear to god it started with oversseas programmers, and in the last decade has become the standard for idiot UI.

Oh hey a quick google showed me two articles:

http://uxmovement.com/buttons/why-ok-buttons-in-dialog-boxes-work-best-on-the-right/

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ok-cancel-or-cancel-ok/

Looking at the reasons for “OK / CANCEL” and they are stupid as fuck. Except for one… “Microsoft does it that way”. Which is a half assed argument. Not surprised that Apple does it correctly “CANCEL/OK” because they know half a shit about UI.

Well, I’m old enough to remember when it was done correctly, consistently, so fuck all you all. It should be CANCEL/BACK/OK.

2016 Election: Disappointment

djt_homepage_desktopbI’m not sure where to start – we lost the election. I don’t understand the sense of betrayal and alienation that I feel today. It feels as if 8 years of work has been undone, as if America chose their President via TV Show call in vote.

I feel betrayed by a Democratic party that couldn’t seal the deal against one of the most disgusting candidates in modern history. A party that continues to get pushed around by the GOP – and never stands up for itself.

I feel betrayed by polls that put us ahead – and were wrong at so many different levels.

I feel alienated from an America that would choose Donald Trump as their president. For the first time in a long time I look at family and friends – and see enemies. I see “other”. I see Olds and Dumbs – people I don’t want to be around anymore.

I see a President-elect who is bereft of morals. His second rate conman routine has somehow fooled half of our nation – and the platform he ran on is a disgusting reminder of the global elites at the top of our ladder. Destruction of the environment for short term financial game. Banning people of certain religious belief from immigrating to our country. Pushing the tax burden back towards the people who can least afford it. Cutting the programs that I believe are integral to our stability, our prosperity and our sense of humanity. Feeding fear and hate, promising everything, delivering nothing.

After listening to the preaching and wailing of the religious right for decades – their savior is a thrice divorced, adulterer, hate preaching conman. They call him a “flawed vessel” or refer to accepting him “warts and all”. The Right complains that the Left mocks their religion – and there is truth to that. But how can we not when this is the example you set. When you talk about “Jesus” but nothing in your life reflects the messages your “prophet” left behind. You are small, and petty, and your tribe is made up of other small minded people. Your spirituality is dull coated and bland. Whatever power you connect to in your heart – it pay be painted with forgiveness sacrifice and love, but underneath is just the same old selfishness and self preservation.

I have never looked at the “other side” of an election and wished harm upon them. And today I do. There is a sick part of me that will enjoy watching Donald Trump break promise after promise to the people who elected him. I wish I could talk to the banks he now longer does business with… at what point does the con stop? Does it ever stop? When did you realize how screwed you actually were. And how did apply the appropriate pressure to bring him in line.

We have an obstructionist GOP – who has worked for 8 years to prevent progress in basic human dignity – gay rights, universal healthcare. These “Christians”. They are worse than whores. Sex for sale is an honest, if disapproved of trade. They are the thousand hooked little claws of a predator that feeds on America. They are rot that should be trimmed. Sickness that should be cut from the living body.

I felt our country was moving in the right direction – and today I am reminded that no – it is not. I feel helpless. I feel scared. I feel betrayed and confused. And the anger that rises out of that would enjoy seeing half of this country fed into a wood chipper. Watching with other eyes to see their souls sluggishly drift up, to be fed upon by the Eagle in the sky.

I

GoDaddy Support Times Are Terrible

go-daddy-tech-support-slowI’ve been a loyal godaddy user for a very long time. I have often recommended them to friends, specifically because of their support. Up until a year or two ago – it was excellent. There has been a steady decline in both quality / availability of service… It used to be I never had to wait more than 10-15 minutes TOPs for support call. Most of the time it was in the 5 minute range.

These days? 30 minutes on hold! Combined with ongoing mail server problems ( GoDaddy’s servers get blacklisted every now and again, and while godaddy DENIES this happens, it most certainly does. Those back and forth email with their tech support team are fucking painful, and they ask for ridiculous shit. ( all email in .eml format, asked me to repeatedly contact my clients and ask to see their server logs ( yeah fucking right.. I’m going to call one of my clients and ask them if I can talk to their IT dept, so I can see why GoDaddy isn’t sending my email correctly ) …

Best part? You can’t even submit a ticket. You have to wait on fucking hold. And if it is after hours? You can’t do shit.

I think it might be time to move on…

EDIT: Day 1:  Found out there is a separate support for servers… I Was able to get on that chat VERY fast, which was nice.  ( launch server -> support ). Of course the problem ( likely a result of a banned server ) was resolved, and they would not tell me what was causing the email bounce backs. Just that “it is fixed now”.

 EDIT: Day 2: Problem is back, 1 day later.

SMTP error from remote mail server after initial connection:
host xxxxx.prod.sea05.secureserver.net [xxx.xxx.xx.xxx]:
554 xxxxx.prod.sea05.secureserver.net :
DED : 8wEy1o0563K58k12901 : DED : ESMTP No Relay Access Allowed From [My IP Address]

25 minutes on hold with “Chat”… so maybe I’m back to “support times suck”…

Tech support was friendly – appears to have confirmed and repeated the problem, and has escalated it. We will see what tomorrow brings!

 EDIT Day 3: New Day, New mail problems!

Received an email today from godaddy support, saying the above issue is fixed. We will see. But don’t worry – more tech support love in our immediate future!

Today my business email account – which uses godaddy webhosting ( separate from the VPS ) started experiencing lag. As much as 4+ hours for some email to come through. This is a problem for me as I was working on a time sensitive project today, and prompt email was critical.

Well, lets look at our options for support!

Chat_Window_-_2014-06-02_22.07.29yeah fuck that.

For some reason the Call line says 2 minutes wait. That is because I call in and disconnected after 2 minutes hahah. That is one way to turn over the support calls!

I eventually do reach a CSR, but we don’t really get very far. 20 minutes on the phone, and his only advice is “Turn off SSL”.

me: why? I’m paying for SSL. I like my encryption.

crs: I’m just telling you what other people have suggested. Let me put you on hold.

me: <waits>

CRS comes back to tell me :

1) My version of outlook is too old, I should update to latest version

2) SSL isn’t that important, it’s “not like someone is going to hack your mail.”

This is a pretty typical GoDaddy CSR move – basically “blame the victim”. The problem isn’t godaddy – it is that I want to use SSL. It isn’t their mail server, it is my outdated mail client.

So yeah, fuck you guys.

 Edit: Day 4: Server mail problems again. Despite being told for the 2nd time this issue was fixed, we are getting errors again today.

10th in line on the chat queue, which takes about 40 minutes to speak to someone. I’ll admit the chat queue is better than sitting on hold, but it is still annoying to be tethered. would much prefer an email that I can fire/forget.

Hey here is a VERY NICE THING TO SAY about GoDaddy. They have Hold without music. Sweet Jesus sitting on hold for an hour listening to ads and fucking music is enough to make me lose my shit. So kudos to you on that GD.

OK – an hour total, and I am told “System Admins are aware of the issue – the fix was implemented, and you still might be getting error messages for another few hours”.

That was an hour of my life that was fucking wasted. Well not a full hour, but yeah.

 

Ebay password reset instructions broken and incorrect

I hate this crap. Following the provided password reset instructions won’t allow you to get a “strong” password, and so your password gets rejected. Never mind that it has 19 characters, upper and lower case AND symbols. Nope you have to put a fucking number in there too.

As you can see, I clearly have 2 of the following: Uppercase, lowercase, numbers or symbols. What they REALLY mean is you need, ALL of the above.

Reset_your_password_-_2014-05-27_17.37.04Even though I have a green check by the password, it still doesn’t get approved. Great job assholes.

And god I hate that type of error messaging at the top. For some reason I miss it half the time because I’m looking down at the password. Or if I had a previous error ( say passwords didn’t match ) it isn’t clear that I have a NEW AND DIFFERENT error message.

So yeah, fuck off.

 

 

 

HOURS AND CONTACT INFO

Why would any company choose to leave their HOURS off the homepage? If I can’t search “hours” on your homepage, and jump to it immediately, there is something seriously fucking wrong with your site.

https://www.frysfood.com/

https://www.chase.com/

http://www.walgreens.com/

fucking unbelievable.