Monday, February 17, 2014

Glass or wood as a speaker

In the past we have specified Solid Drive transducers to turn wood, glass or drywall into a speaker. They are quite expensive but very cool.  $500 each retail.

I subscribe to and one of this weeks projects is Hanging Glass Speakers.

Same concept as Solid Drive, I don't think I would do it that way, but astounding for the inexpensive components that are used for the transducers and amplifier.

$20 each for transducers and $18 for a 20 watt stereo amp!

I have a customer that used Solid Drive to turn a living room ceiling into surround left and right speakers and a kitchen floor turned into stereo left and right.

I'm tempted to get the components just to play with.

Charter eliminating "basic cable" in Charlevoix County (and around the country)

The Boyne City Gazette has the Public Notice in it's paper addition.

If you have Charter for TV and you don't have a set-top-box, you will have to get one and soon, March 25, 2014!

When the country went from analog to digital for all broadcast TV, many of the cable companies preserved the analog channels that they deliver, channels 2-69.

So older TV's with the old analog tuners could still get basic cable without a set-top box.

Analog TV signals takes up many times the bandwidth of a Digital signal.  So getting rid of analog frees up a ton of space for other uses.

Of course Charter does not make it easy to see what they are doing, you can see it here.

It won't be much of a big deal for the typical home owner but it can be a bit complicated for the hospitality industry that may still be using basic cable on a bunch of TV's

We can help.

Telephone Land Lines (POTS)

Last year AT&T filed petitions with the FCC to phase out Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) or land lines.

It kind of looks like the service to your home will still be an analog connection but the switching will be IP/VoIP, meaning your service will not really go away but the way calls get switched between customers will change.

I found this article in the January issue of a trade magazine.

The article mentions interesting statistics about the decline of the land line in Michigan.
What really grabbed my attention were the statistics cited in the article. Where there were 6.6 million POTS telephone lines in Michigan in 2000, now there are 2.6 million, with 1.4 million VoIP connections. You might ask what happened to the remainder of the POTS telephone lines that were active in 2000. That answer is simple; customers are rapidly going to wireless-only telephone service, with 9.3 million Michigan cell/smart phone connections in 2012 versus 3.5 million in 2000.
Over half of the land lines that were in use in 2000 have been eliminated.  We dropped our home land lines many years ago.  The business number is now on a wireless device too.

Here is a link to another article.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Wow, it has been a while, a whole year!

Two holiday items, first my famous gift salsa and next brining a pre-basted turkey.

In the past I prepared the salsa in a food processor requiring several batches.   Sloppy but it works.  I have been doing it this way for many years.  Last year I purchased the food grinder and citrus juicer attachments for my KitchenAid stand mixer.  Seven limes through the juicer.  Six large bell peppers, six large Jalapenos and two sweet onions through the food grinder using the large die.  Mix it all up using the flat mixer blade.  The plan was for a continuous feed process, success.  Excellent texture and finished product.  Fifteen pints of gifted goodness.  

We typically receive a gifted turkey from the store.  Most of the turkeys that are not special ordered are pre-basted like Butter Ball Turkeys.  This Spartan Young Turkey was pre-basted with a broth solution.  Most brining recipes say not to brine a pre-basted turkey.  I have wanted to try my luck with a brined turkey many times over the past few years.  Always thwarted by the "don't brine a basted bird" rule.  This year my research yielded a brining recipe from Buttter Ball, which greatly reduces the salt in the brine to allow for the pre-baste.

Marilyn was dreading eating this turkey as she barely tolerates turkey anytime.  It turns out it was the best Turkey that we can remember.

We cook our turkeys un-stuffed but do add things like apples or celery stalks in big pieces in the cavity for moisture.

I mixed the dry brine ingredients with a quart of water and boiled just that, added seven quarts of cold water to my bucket and then added the hot "ingredient" water to the bucket and let it chill in the garage all day.  The brine time was ten hours for our turkey so later that night the turkey was added to the now super cold brine, placed back in the garage and checked in the morning to insure that it hadn't frozen.  It worked out perfectly.